tv Supreme Court CSPAN December 29, 2009 8:00pm-10:00pm EST
new year's day, a look at what is ahead for the new year. vladimir putin discusses his future in the coming year. the creator of the segue and the co-founder of "guitar hero." >> up next, a conversation with associate supreme court justice anthony kennedy. we spoke with justice kennedy in the u.s. conference room of the supreme court. later, our interview with justice samuel alito.
>> this is a different institution. it has a different function. you must approach it in a different way. >> can you put some words to those differences, please? >> on the court of appeals, you can write just for the case that is in front of you so that you have room in the next case to make adjustments, to make qualifications. -- and to also accommodate your colleagues who are raking in the same area. hear, the function is to try to give some guidance to the state
supreme courts or to the federal courts and you're not going to see this kind of case again for may be at least a few years. you do not have the luxury of it equivocating much. the other thing is that all the cases are hard. the only reason we take them is that other courts are in disagreement most of the time. that means that other judges and other actors in the legal system have come to differing conclusions. every case is that way. so it is a different function. >> you said it took you a while to realize it. can you talk with through that process of first realizing that you did not know as much as you thought? >> your always hesitant to say i get it now. the nature of life is that it is
learned looking backward and lived moving forward. it would be pretentious to say that i know everything about this job now. if you are not open and willing to learn about the institution and learn about yourself, then you should get a different job. my first realization came when i was given my first assignment. the first assignment to a junior justice is usually a simple case. it was too large standards. and i found it very -- it was to our standards. and i found it very difficult. also, the legal system, and to some extent the press and the public, is concentrating, with great intensity, on what you
say. you can use different metaphors for the judicial system, different means or allegories to define what this court is. i like to think of us as teachers. we first teach ourselves and then teach others. we are teaching what the law means. i open my son's book on aristotle and aesthetics. it says when it was, what is, and what is to be. it reminded me of the judicial function.
we write about what was, what happened, what were the facts, whether it was an accident or a crime, a dispute among government officials on a private business -- what was. and then what is, what is the law. and then we write about what is to be. that is the way we teach. this court is a teaching institution when it is at its best. >> what they like most about the job? >> -- what do you like most about the job? >> i had the opportunity to try, in my own way, to teach young people, particularly, but i hope all judges and lawyers and all citizens and to teach myself constantly. the law and freedom and what it
stands for only survive if your conscience of what they mean to you, to america, to its heritage. when we rebelled against the english, the world was amazed. americans said, we want freedom. englund said, freedom? these are the most free people you have ever seen. what are they talking about freedom? we had to give them an answer. we did not have a fax machine or e-mail, but we had to give them an answer. our first venture was the declaration of independence. it had jefferson's beautiful preamble explaining that we owed an explanation and an answer.
we gave that answer. some years later, 1776 and then 77, the constitution of the united states was drafted. americans have a self-image, a cell for identification, a self understanding of who they are by their legal document. this is only one of the few countries in the world that is that way. we come from many different backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, but we have this thing called the declaration of independence, this document called the constitution that defines us. the best part about this job is that you have a very small part in reminding yourself, in reminding the legal system, in reminding the public that this is our heritage of freedom. it is only maintained if you understand it.
you do not take a dna test to believe in freedom. it is taught and it is learned and teaching and learning are conscious acts. for each generation has to learn over again what the constitution means. great teaching cases are ones in which or, that the framers wrote in 1789 and has real meaning today. americans get infuriated when you burn the flag because we love the flag. the court said it is ok? you can burn it? we said that because of the fifth amendment -- excuse me because of the first amendment. that gave the constitution real meaning in their own lives and in their own time -- and in our
own time and that is when it is powerful. it is yours. >> in your 21 years, have there any ibeen any dark days for this edition? >> -- for this institution? >> we think of arguing a case and i have not met to many lawyers who do not think they are not on the right side. if you cannot convince your colleagues, then you think is a dark day. but the nature of the profession is that you go onto the next case and you respect your colleagues. one of the things you learn when you are a judge is that you are not the only person in the room. -- that is objective, it interested, detached,
knowledgeable, unbiased. your colleagues feel the same way. >> as someone who has lived under more than one chief justice, but how significant is the individual on the culture of the supreme court? >> i knew earl warren very well. we were family friends. of course, i knew chief justice burger and now chief justice roberts. on the one hand, there's not much of the chief justice can do. the eight associate justices have a lifetime job and have the duty to uphold the constitution. he can fire them. he has to get along with them.
so the chief justice comes to a court where there are these elements of stability and permanence and protection. we have our tradition and our oath. on the other hand, the chief justice who presides steers us through the mechanics of hearing the cases and calendars. by his personality and his warmth and his decisiveness and his thunderstanding of the law, his colleagues can do a great deal to set the tone. >> we are going to be able to see various rooms. it would be interesting to hear your take on what happens in these rooms. we heard the process of conference. if we were to have a camera in
conference while you're there, which we would never be able to do, what is it like? >> i believe justice breyer made an interesting comment. somebody asked us, are you nervous before you go on the bench? answer, not at all. i look forward to it. sometimes you hear a university professor say that it is as hard to give the exam as it is to take it. do not believe it. i was always nervous when i appeared in court as an attorney. judges do not feel that way. it is relaxed. it is easy. you have to be careful to be courteous to the attorneys and
we are open-minded and we do our job. çóthat is a preface to your question about what happens in the conference room. justice breyer gets nervous before he goes into conference. i said why? it is like being an attorney once again. you're arguing your case. i have eight colleagues to study very hard on the case who may have some very fixed views and maybe tentative, depending on how they have fought the case through. i have to give my point of view and, hopefully, persuade them. i feel a sense of anticipation or an adrenaline rush or i do not know what they call it. but it is a big day for us. we sometimes have as many as six cases.
i have to be professional and accurate and fair and each of my colleagues feels the same way. so there is a little tension and excitement in the room. but we love it. we are lawyers. >> it seems like conference is one of those places where many of those traditions come to bear. will you talk about them? >> i think they're probably pretty well known. when we are discussing cases, which we usually do 48 hours to 78 hours after the argument, before the cases heard, we have an unwritten rule to not talk about it with each other. if there is a technical problem, i might go to justice scalia and say so. but if we go into it, we will send a memo to everybody over what we talked about.
we do know what little cli ques. the first time we know what our colleagues are thinking is in or arguments, from the questions. one of the reasons you ask the question is!o advise your colleague what your thinking or white your concerns are. a good it -- or what your concerns are. a good attorney can realize that he or she is engaging in a conversation that the court is having with itself. that is the first time we get an inkling of what our colleagues use our. then we go into conference. -- colleagues vi' views are. then we go into conference. on the bench, we are pretty much made up our mind. in the conference room, we are
working to make up our minds. it is quite fascinating to see how these cases come up. it is no winner lose. it is what rationale or principal -- is not win or lose. it is what rationale or principal use. when the case is closed, say, 5- 4. there are not a lot of high- fives and backslaps. there is a moment of quiet. there's a moment of respect. then we realize that one of us will have to write about the decision which teaches and give reasons for what we do. the point of writing an opinion is to come in with an
allegiance to the results. we have no army. we have no budget. we do not have press conferences. we do not give speeches saying how wonderful my dissent was or how bad the majority. we do not do that. we are judged by of what we write. and we have to write something that shows we are following the rules and we are open and honest and we give reasons for you to believe that what we did was right. >> do you take notes in conference? >> yes. i never speak from notes. but i do take notes of what other people say. >> is it to frame an argument to bring someone over to your side? >> you do know who will be assigned the case until after the conference. -- you do not know who will be assigned the case until after the conference. you should have notes so that you can remember what your colleagues said.
it is not just what you do, but how you do it. it is fascinating. sometimes the case may be 9-0, but there will be different points of view. >> is the room will design for what happens there? >> sure. it has a rectangular table. that is about it. i suppose you could have a circular table. the korean peace talks, they spent some time talking about the size of the table. >> literature around you? >> yes. >> so nothing particularly that foments great argument in the room? >> no. when you get into the building, why is it that we have an
elegant, astonishingly beautiful, imposing, impressive structure? is it so that we feel important? i think not. it is to remind us that we have an important function and to remind the public, when it seized the building, of the importance and the centrally -- when it sees the building, of the importance and the centrality of the law. the building is magnificent enough so that you can think of adjectives as you come in. >> do you have one activity with you? >> i would like to say timeless.
there are a lot of greek architectural features to it. there is the shape of the windows. it is smaller the top then it is at the bottom. it looks like a rectangle. we found out to our grief, when we ordered new windows, they were measured wrong. it is not a rectangle. it is a quadrilateral structure. it is designed so that it looks durable, elegant, imposing, balanced, symmetrical from a distance, which is what the law looks like.
>> you mentioned that the steps in the entrance are of particular note to you. >> it is symbolic. it is something that we like to think, the law and the constitution, the great documents of freedom, of as something that you should respect, frequently be inspired, and have elevated thoughts. when i was first here at the court, a prime minister from a foreign country who was also an attorney was here. we stood up looking at the beautiful building and the steps. on the pediment, it has "equal justice under law." i thought, he is going to ask
you where that is from. i did not know. so i steered the conversation in a different direction so he would not ask me so they did not know. so i went to the files and i found out that it was made up by the architect because the size of the letters works out on the impediment. it now has become a very famous phrase. you can get inspiration from just about anywhere. even if it is redundant, we need reminding. the steps are wonderful. maybe five years ago, in washington, we dedicated the monument to world war ii. ñrthe government flew in world r ii veterans from all over the country.
for two days or three days, they were walking around the city and people would be in there come a late 70's and a's. -- and 80's. i took a walk in the front of the building. two of them were from the midwest. they had farming community dress. i said, i guess you're here in town for the memorial. they said, the government did something very nice for us. i said, you did something very wonderful for the addition. >once said, my friend served in the pacific with the marines. we have known each other all the time. he said, come on, charlie. we can make it up the steps. it is important for the justices, the attorneys, the public that people always want to come up the steps. not a day comes by the we do not
ask ourselves are we doing this job right? the nature of most human enterprise is to ask yourself, as an introspective way, am i doing this the right way? law is designed for that, in a way, because we have to give reasons for what we do. we have to give reasons for what we do. we have to convince ourselves. when i have to write an opinion, the first thing i have to do is convince myself. there's a lot of stuff that goes into the wastebasket. then you have to convince others. again, this court remind you of the fact that you have this job to do. >> as a local citizen, i have always remark that the design and have a suitable it is for
public expression of sentiment, the protests and affirmations that go on in the court. i am sure that was not the intent of the architectural originally heard what you think of the public protests and affirmations? >> of the law and the -- the constitution is yours. it is yours to talk about and to defend. that is why it is so important, young people in particular, to know and understand the constitution. the president takes an oath to protect and defend the constitution. you can preserve something you do not true here. -- you cannot preserve something you do not revere. you can love something you do
not know. he must understand the traditions of freedom, the purpose of liberty, so that you can have it down to the next generation. -- so you can hand it down to the next generation. democracy does not have a definitive fleck expectancy -- definitive life expectancy. you have to preserve it. >> [unintelligible] >> i see the demonstrations sometimes. i do not know what size they are on. >> so there is no consciousness as you work on an opinion? >> other than it reminds you that you have to be clear about your reasons and tried to convince people that you're right. >> let's talk about the supreme court chamber itself. the have worked in other courtrooms. i wonder what you think of this one with its ornate red velvet
drapes and its touches a tradition from past centuries in their. >> as i have indicated, the principal purpose is to remind the judges and the lawyers and the litigants of the absolute importance, the essential to be that you have -- the essential duty that you have. when the iron curtain fell and we began to seem more russians, they could not quite believe that the white house did not give us a call to tell us how the case should come out. we said, no, that is not the way. there is a separation of power. they said, maybe so, but there is some cultural mechanism where we tried to get the signal from somebody on what to do.
it was quite a task educating our foreign visitors in that respect. i said, number one, when government sits at this table, the government targets its case just like your body else. we have a rule that we do not talk to the litigants and the attorneys. that was a help to them to know that, number one, the government is like every other litigant and that they have to argue before a spirit that helped to teach the lesson. -- before us. that helped to teach the lesson. >> you often have attorneys arguing cases that have one shot at it in their entire legal career. in the court that you came from, it is a bar for you regularly see the same lorries. what is the oral argument here
compared to the ninth circuit. >> i cintas think we do a disservice to the -- i sometimes think we do a disservice to the profession when we complain about the oral argument. i have made arguments to judges. i made up my mind that i was always going to be courteous to the attorney and understand the stress that he is under and that she is under. house and listened earlier, i amities. i know they're not -- as i mentioned earlier, i am at ease. i know they are not. >> we were in the pressroom earlier today. a number of the reporters had a sense -- had their entire career
here. >> i do not see them in a regular basis, except in the court. but occasionally, there might be a retirement party at which we meet each other. we each have a professional obligation to keep a certain amount of distance and independence. we never complain about what they're right, even though they are sometimes wrong on the facts. >> but you do read it, obviously. >> yes. i do not really rush to do it. i am upset sometimes when i see an editorial and it is obvious they have not read the opinion. they do not understand the reasons. by andñr large, the people that
cover us like their work. they know our traditions and their schedule and they do a very good job. the news cycle, the interest, the intentioattention span beint is, they have 24 hours to make their point. we write four different time dimension. it is not just the result. it is what the principle is. the press does a very good job at reported what we do. it is a little more difficult to report why we did it. i can understand their problem. they have the 24 hours or 48 hours news cycle. they have a tough job. >> talk about the importance -- >> if i may. of course, we do have
commentary and we have law reviews. every major law school has a law review. this law review is dedicated to explain, criticizing, and analyzing the opinions of the court, particularly this court. do not think that is just the institutional press that does this. we have lost in to spend months analyzing our cases, often criticizing then, in print, in the law review. we look at that with some care. >> if someone came to you and said, i want to be a lawyer, would you encourage them? >> absolutely. after years on the bench, i would be very happy practicing law. i loved it. >> what is it about it? >> you have a nose, when
obligation to defend something -- you have an oath, an obligation to defend something that is ideal to freedom as we know it. >> you have the first federal law school? >> yes. you play a little part -- you have that fresh out of law school? >> yes. you play a little part. you're just eight called on the wheel. but the idea that the government cannot arrest your client without cause, convict your client without proof beyond a reasonable doubt is so impressive . half the world does not have freedom, either because it cannot or because it does not want it. and the jury is out as to whether the rest of the world will choose freedom. we have to make that case.
frankly, it is not being made. i am not sure that we are picking up a lot of ground. >> what do you mean by that? >> there are 6 billion people on this earth of humankind. more than half of them have to live outside the law. they see the law as an obstacle, not an instrument of progress. they see the law as a threat, not a promise, something to avoid, not something to grace and understand. i talked about the great soviet writer who gave a commencement speech in the 1970's. he criticized the united states and the west for being a obsessed with balls all -- with the law.
i was astounded. understood the principles of freedom, the unyielding, indomitable human spirit to rise above tyranny. it occurred to me that he thinks of the law as something cold, something of a threat. we do not. for us, the law is liberating. that is a big difference. and we have to teach that. we do not teach enough of it. >> that may be the answer that i wanted to ask you. because of your lifetime tenure and because of the media coverage, you could choose whether or not you want to be a public figure, to give speeches and commencement addresses, teach and do interviews as this. you have to to some degree. why is that? >> i think is our obligation to do our very best to make sure that the institution is
understood, to make sure that people know what is at stake. when we say that we want freedom for the rest of the world and we think that is the only way to recognize the dignity of man, the dignity of women, this is something that we can talk about too much. americans are busy. they're going to baseball games, working, raising their families. they do not think about the law night and day. but i am so impressed when i go around the country how much people do know about the court system and the respect they do have for it. >> you are about to leave for summer. while you're gone, there will be hearings for a new justice for
the supreme court. you have seen others come and go. how much does the court changed when a new justice arrives? is there a cultural shift to? what you do to get a new member acclimated? >> it is a new court. when i was trying jury cases, a juror had to be replaced and then it was a different dynamic. it was a different jury. it is the same thing. this will be a very different court. it is stressful for us because we so admire our colleagues. but i have great admiration for the system. this system works. after the appointment and the confirmation process, if there is a confirmation, the system will bring us a very good justice.
it gives us the opportunity to look on ourselves, to make sure that we are doing it the right way, to see that the new justice will be able to take some instruction from our example if we are doing it the right way. a new justice can always ask the question, what are you doing this for? and we have to think about whether or not we should continue to do it. >> justice kennedy, thank you so much for your observations on the court. >> thank you. >> we will continue with our supreme court interviews in a moment. for more information on the supreme court, was ivisit our website. you can also purchase c-span's documentary on the court. ms. it c-span.org/supremecourt.
now we continue with justice samuel alito. in this 30-minute interview, he talks about the role of the court and his day-to-day duties. he was nominated to the court by president bush. >> former chief justice had died determine the fallen created a vacancy. this was on january 31, 2006. i was immediately brought over here to the court and sworn in by the chief justice and they showed me to my office. that very day, i received a very difficult application for a stay
of execution in a capital case. i was thrown right into the heart of the court's work. >> what happens when you get something like that? do you have to operate on your own? >> i was operating on my own. i was operating entirely on my own. i did not even have a staff of the time. >> so what do you do in that case? >> i did what i had been doing for 15 years as a court of appeals judge. i city the case and came to my conclusions about what i thought we should do -- i studied the case and came to my conclusions about what i thought we should do. >> [unintelligible] for me, i was plunged right into the work. i immediately got the brief said
the cases that were coming up for argument. i started reading those. i had the benefit of having the assistance of two of justice o'connor's. they had the knowledge of the operating procedures. >> did they give you some of the traditions and customs? >> there wasn't any formal training. it was learned to go. it may be because it was a little hectic in the middle of the term. >> the junior justice has special privileges and responsibilities in the conference, we have heard. can you explain that? >> i don't think the junior justice has any special privilege. but he has to duties. the first and the less onerous
is to open the door of the conference room. we meet in the conference. there are no staff members present. occasionally, someone will lock on the door. the job of the junior justice is to open the door. the other duty is to keep the official vote of grants of serve to hold in the case. when we hold the conference, we will go through a long list of cases and we will vote on whether the we are going to take the case or deny it or do something else. it is the junior injustice's responsibility to keep the official vote. >> what about the way that the justices speak in conference? >> it is a disadvantage to the junior justice because, by the time he or she speaks, everyone
else has spoken and voted. when i was the junior, which has been up until now, by the time they got to me, i was easily irrelevant or very important. >> you mentioned you had a couple of course that had served four other justices. in your background, you were a car for the third circuit court. -- you were a clerk for the third circuit court. >> yes. >> what does that help you in selecting your own clerks? >> it helps where you learn the internal brings of the court. there are a lot of things ago on internally. some are important and not so important that people on the outside, even practitioners to argue cases for the court are not familiar with. when i clerked on the third
circuit, some of the judges were still serving. that was interesting. that was an interesting change of rules. i sat with the judge for who might clerked shortly after i joined the court. >> i got on the web and found the 20 clergy have had so far. you had four attorneys. >> yes. >> and none of the 20 had clerked for you before. how is that an advantage to you? >> they were known quantities to meet. i have had really good relationships with my clerks who worked well together. those have -- those who have done a great job for me and i knew exactly how they would
perform as a clerk, that was debated vintage. i am pretty much running out of a former clerks. >> how important are the to injustice? >> the help decide how i am going to vote. the helmet prepared to make the decision on how to vote. -- they helped me prepare to make the decision on how to vote. they do not make the decisions for me and they do not decide the substance of what goes in the opinion that i write. but they provide a lot of help with research. it is especially important here. they give me the opportunity to discuss the case and the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments that are made before i go into the oral argument and before voting at conference.
is it true that when you interviewed byron white about becoming a court that you mustn't talk about football? >> it is up -- that you mostly talked about football? >> it was apocryphal. i don't remember too many of the details. he was very gracious. i do not think he said anything about football. i think i saw a football in his chambers. he was very gracious and substantive. he asked me about the things that i had done. >> how do you pick your course? what is your criteria? >> i look for people who do the two things i mentioned, analyze cases, a difficult legal issues and help in the process of writing the opinions. it is not easy for me to identify the people who are best able to help me with those to
duties. we have an enormous number of qualified applicants. i am disappointed every year that i have to decline the applications of so many people who i am sure would do a fantastic job. >> in the middle of this project, you are getting a new colleague. you're not one to be jr. any longer. had he talked to justice so mayoso mysotomayor? -- have you talked to justice so my doosotomayor?
when i arrived, it took awhile for the previous junior justice cannot be the junior justice anymore. i was processing this. someone was knocking at the door and it was my job to answer the door. before i could even start to get out of the chair, justice breyer was out of his chair and headed to the door. if you justices had to say, steve, sit down. that is not your job anymore. i have not been in my role as long. i hope i will feel the same way. >> what about the supposed practice that a new justice writes his or forher first opinion after a unanimous case? >> i think that is something the court residue. they did that with me. it was an opinion in which we were unanimous. i think it is a good practice.
when i sent it around and i got approvals, somebody said, do not think it is going to be this easy all the time in the future. that certainly has proven to be the case. i distinctly remember drafting that opinion. before i came here, i was a court of appeals judge for 15 years. i had written hundreds of opinions. i thought i had done my best in those. but when i drafted the first opinion, realizing where i was now, i went back covert and overt and covert. i never realized an opinion has many times as i did before i said that out. >> how much do the college do in the first opinion? >> they always do a draft for me.
most of the time, when finally emerges is not that different from what comes from the clerk. i am a very fussy editor and kind of a fuss directofussy wri. >> who taught you to write? >> must limit father. he was an english teacher. -- mostly my father. he was an english teacher. we would sit down and painstakingly go over it, word for word, sentence by sentence. he would suggest better ways of saying things. any writing ability that i had was mostly the result of that laborious task. it takes a lot of intensive one- on-one instruction.
i had that opportunity with him. >> is there water to rules that you have that you use in writing? >> i like very clear organization. that is probably the most important thing. i like everything to go in its place and in the proper place. the old rules are writing, a topic sentence for each paragraph, did not put anything and that is superfluous, do not put anything and that is unclear -- my father used to say, if you're having problems saying it, you are probably having a problem with the thought. if the thought is clear, you can translate it into understandable pros. i think that is true. >> you suggested that things got a little tougher after the first opinion that you wrote. can you explain what changed?
>> when it is not unanimous, obviously, you have to be ready to respond to the dissent. the dissent's here are rigorous. they do not pull punches. it improves the quality of the majority opinion. but it is something that you have to anticipate. if the court is not entirely of one mind, not just on the result, but on the reasoning, there is the problem of writing something that will get five votes or six votes or seven votes or whenevewhatever the nu. there are things that you have to say any particular way. you have to think about what you want to say, not just the way you would write for yourself,
but the majority as a group. >> i read that you argued for the court and solicited [unintelligible] >> that is right. >> what is the difference between standing in the court and arguing for the government and standing on the other side of the fence? >> it is a lot easier to ask questions and to enter them. as a justice, you can anticipate what you're going to say, what you are interested in asking about. when you argue case, it is tough to anticipate. as much as you may try to anticipate what the justices or the judges will be interested in. >> i read the transcript of the unanimous decision that you wrote the opinion on i was trying to track when the justices jumping to ask questions. for a long time, there was a new
justice all the way. is there a rule among your colleagues in that everybody gets a chance to ask a question before the next one starts? >> no. there is no rule like that. i learned that it is a lot harder to get in a question on the bench of mind than it is on a bench of three -- engine of nine -- bench of nine then it is on a bench of three. if you wait until the end of the sentence, you will never get a question in. you have to interrupt to make your way heard. >> what would you tell a lawyer and they came to you and ask for advice to argue in front anof the courts? >> something that everybody knows buttons to forget in the course of an argument is that
the best advocates understand exactly where they want to go and have in mind alternative routes to get there. they can anticipate -- they can evaluate based on the questions whether it is going to work. if it is not, they will be open to talking about a different way. they are not rigid and they certainly know where they want to go. less extreme is to advocates, they do not pick up the signals from the questions. they are more rigid on their approach and they lose opportunities by doing that. >> what has been your stance after 16 years on the court -- on the circuit court and have been here for three years, what is your sense of oral arguments the importance? have you ever changed your mind
after an oral argument? >> certainly. it is not often on the bottom line. sometimes. we do on awful lot of preparation before we go into the oral argument. i have read hundreds of pages of briefs on the material before the argument begins. so i have thought about the case pretty thoroughly. still, i find it helpful. every case it gets here, even those that end up being 9-0, involved cases where there is a good argument on both sides. if you have a case like that where there are good arguments on both sides and you have skillful lawyers and we really do have high-level advocacy, i find it very helpful in the
last step of the decision-making process. >> as you watch an attorney in front of you, is there any way to describe what you like and dislike in the way that they perform, the approach they take, the volume they use, all those little things? >> yes. there is a big difference between arguing a case in an appellate court and arguing a case to a jury. we do not get many lawyers here who think they're arguing to juries. sometimes, on the court of appeals, we would get that. every court has its own style. i think it is a mistake for any advocate to argue before a court without having seen arguments there. the style is different. what is expected is different. >> in your leading up to being a member of the supreme court, you did everything for working for
the solicitor general, working in the justice department, circuit court judge, u.s. attorney -- were you the editor at the law review of yale? >> i was one of the editors. >> of all of those experiences, what prepared to the most for the job? >> i think they'll help me. -- i think they all helped me. >> what does the solicitor general do? >> the solicitor general handles all the u.s. government litigation in the supreme court. he must authorize any appeal that is taken by the government in any lower court. while is there, i have the opportunity to brief many cases here and argue 12. it was a tremendous learning experience.
also, something that ended up in your princeton your book was the use it, "hit you hoped to warm a seat on the supreme court." >> i did write that. but it was really a joke. it was like saying that my ambition was to be a quarterback in the super bowl or the winning pitcher in the world series. it was a dream that i never thought that i would come close to realizing. >> when did you know that you first had a chance to be on the supreme court? >> i knew i was a possibility. i would not turn it a good chance. . as first call them for an interview with the white house, -- when i was first called down for an interview with the white house, then i kind of new. >> how long was that from the
there are a few where the party has the right to appeal. almost all the cases are cases that people have a right to take to the court of appeals. it takes a lot to get used to that. i think that every single year is a learning process. i have been a judge for 19 years. i have learned something every year. >> what are the major differences? >> the main difference is the difference in the pocket, the nature and the number ofñi case. you have a huge number of cases. we have a little under 300 per year per judge. here, we are around 80 cases. the cases here are much harder
they are often kind of messy. because they are all difficult issues. we have moved from new jersey to the washington area i don't think that my relationship with people has changed. many people are very knowledgeable about what we do even though i think that people on the outside are more knowledgeable and they don't appreciate some sort of an affable aspects of this drop.
>> what role does this institution play in the overall american society? ñi>> the simplest answer is the answer that i song on a website where they had sample questions that were given to people that were taking the naturalization test. they said, what is the role of the supreme court. the simple answer was to interpret the laws of the u.s. pare no computer could take over what we do. that is what we do. we have the constitution and laws. i think that day mean something. they don't necessarily mean what i want them to me and every instance i think that the people of the u.s. and trust us to apply those laws fairly and
evenly and objectively. that is a great responsibility that we have. >> what about this building? what do you think of it? >> it is a great building. we are indebted to chief justice taft this portrait is behind you who had been president, he had been chief justice. this is very impressive to visitors, lawyers, people who got [unintelligible] i experienced the building in two dayways. this is like the other places
that we have worked. often, the building is vacant and dark. i walked through the great hall and i look around at the pillars. the building impresses upon me the importance of the work that we are doing. as many times as i have walked through the hall, it never ceases to have that impression. >> what about this job is not what you expected it to be? >> the this is a much more public job than my old job on the court of appeals. we are not like politicians, we are not out to be in public and conferring with constituents the
way they do. there is a lot more public attention focused on what we do that i was used to. >> got off to an accord is portrayed as republican it reverses liberal, republican vs. democrat, what is your feeling? >> many of the cases cannot break down along those lines. i think the public and the media tend to focus very heavily on the most controversial cases. those are just one part of our docket. most of our cases are an interpretation of the constitution. most cannot involve hot button issues.
there are plenty of cases when there is the makeup of the majority and the dissent is not what anyone would have expected if they thought along the lines that you mentioned. >> do you have a pet peeve about how this institution is perceived? >> it would be what i just mentioned. people don't appreciate the full breadth of what we do. a lot of people think that we are deciding what the rules should be in cases. i talked to a lot of school groups, high-school kids, college kids. they usually think of questions before they come in. very often, particularly high school kids, they will ask me
what do you think about this or that. all of the controversial issues as if that is what i'm doing. there is a confusion in the minds of many people, between what we do and what the elected branches to. >> thank you for your time. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> we go to the conference and then we vote. >> wednesday, our interview with clarence thomas and stephen brook. did your own copy of our original documentary on dvd.
-- get your own copy of our original documentary. up next, hillary clinton talks about human rights. after that, remarks from president obama on the attempted airline bombing. later, a discussion on economic policy. tomorrow morning, we'll talk about the alleged airline bombing plot with catherine herridge. after that, julie rovenr on
the health-care debate. later, an ascent from american university on campaign strategy. -- an event from american university on campaigns strategy. live coverage begins at 10:30 eastern. >> secretary of state hillary clinton laid out the obama administration's human-rights approach during a speech at georgetown university. this is one hour.
[applause] >> it dear students, faculty is, and staff. it isçó my honor to welcome you. we are reminded of this start drafting of the universal declaration of human rights. the u.n. general assembly unanimously adopted the document 61 years ago. this simple and powerful statement that we were entering into the new era in which genocide and torture would not
be tolerated. i have had the unique opportunity to take a course in human rights based upon this declaration. the course of human rights has been a different picture. since the falholocaust, there have been other genocidal incidents. uz protect, the international community remains negligent. financial giants continue to line their pockets as people struggle to put food on their tables and clothing on their backs. they thrive on the support from various factors such as celebrities and ngo's. leadership on global health issues to student led
initiatives such as the model u.n. entity and the genocide campaign stand. there will be a requirement for long-lasting champions such as madame secretary hillary clinton. i am honored that secretary clinton delivers her address here at georgetown university. without further ado, i mean introduce the president. has also helped to expand the community from initiatives on a
range of issues such as into religious dialogue and emerging economies. he is a member of the council on foreign relations. he is the chair of the board of compass compact and for the form on the future of higher education. please give a round of applause. [applause] >> it is my pleasure to welcome all of you here this afternoon. it is an honor to haveçó the secretary of state, hillary rodham clinton, to discuss the human rights agenda for the 21st century. in this new century, no nation can achieve its fullest potential if any segment of the
population is of use, neglected, a press, or disenfranchised if their skills are ignored and if their promise and potential is squandered. at a time when nations are increasingly interdependent and people increasingly interconnected, the situation in one nation affects every nation. for nearly four decades, secretary clinton has been a champion for the cause of human rights. she has been a champion of human dignity, worth, both here and abroad for the most vulnerable and wounded in our midst. she has been a voice for the voiceless and powerless. in 1995, she declared that human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights. this not only helped to inspire and galvanize women throughout the community but this is
considered a milestone in the history of the struggle. hillary clinton now serves as the 67 u.s. secretary of state (to reporters as include thomas jefferson, james madison, james monroe, daniel webster, george marshall, and of course madeleine albright. when she was secretary of state, madeleine worked together with a secretary clinton to launch the federal government's vital voices democracy initiative. today, this is a nonprofit organization that works to train
and organize women leaders from around the world. before being appointed to tear position by president obama, she served as a u.s. senator from new york where she was a strong advocate. as first lady, for 8 years, she worked many issues relating to children and families, especially health care. she led a successful bipartisan effort to bring care to millions of children's through the children's health care program. her biography is one of firsts. the first first lady to hold a law degree.4' the firstçó sitting first lady o be elected to the senate or any public office. the first woman to win statewide election in new york. the first woman to win the president as a primary. the first first lady to ever win a grammy. [laughter]
çó>> thank you. it is great to be back here at georgetown. this is one of those was a legitimate reasons for taking a break. i'm very happy to provide it. i want to think jas for his introductory remarks. clearly those of you that are in the foreign service school are reflections of the extraordinary opportunity you have been given here to study about the culture of human-rights. it is a real honor for me to be delivering this speech at georgetown because there is no better place than this university and to talk about human rights. the president, the
administration, the faculty and the body of the long tradition of supporting free expression and free inquiry and the cause of human rights around the world. and i know that the president has talked on human rights in as well as on the ethics of international development with one of my longtime colleagues. i'm hoping this will shape our thinking on many subjects. it is important to be at this university because the students here and the faculty here every single year add to the interreligious dialogue. you give voice to many advocates and activists who are working on the frontline of the global human-rights movement.
the opportunities that you provide your students to do in the human rights clinic are close to my heart. all of these efforts reflect the deep commitment of the georgetown administration faculty and students to this cause. thank you for keeping human rights front and center. thank you for the first generation of human rights advocates. they may never work for amnesty international or any other organizations specifically devoted to human rights but who will lead to this university to ñibe an acute in their hearts ad minds. thank you for all that you do and all that georgetown has done. [applause]
i want to speak to you about lehman rights agenda. this is a critical issue that once our energy and our attention. my comments today will provide an overview of our thinking on human rights and democracy and how they fit into our broader foreign policy as well as the principles and policies that guide our approach. let me say that it could not be a comprehensive accounting of the pieces or nations with whom we haveçó human-rights concerns. this is not a checklist or a scorecard. we issue a report every year. this goes into great detail sprint dow.
i hope that we can look at this issue in a broader light and appreciate the urgency. with that, let me turn to the business at hand. in his acceptance speech for the nobel peace prize, president obama said that while war is never welcome or good, it will sometimes be bright in necessary. only a just peace based upon the inherent rights and dignity of every individual can be truly lasting. throughout history and in our own time, there have been those who violently deny the truth. our mission is to embrace it, to work for lasting peace through a principal human rights agenda and a practical strategy. the speech also reminded us that our basic values, those enshrined in our declaration of
independence, the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are not only the source of our strength and endurance but the birthright of every man, woman, and child on earth. that is also the promise of the universal declaration of human rights. the prerequisite a building a world in which every person has an opportunity to live up to his or her potential. the power behind every movement for freedom, every campaign for democracy, every effort to foster development and every struggle against oppression, the potential for every person to learn, discover, and embrace the world around them. the potential to join with others to shape their communities and societies so that every person can find fulfillment and self- sufficiency. the potential to share the duty and tragedy of life with the
people that we love. that potential is sacred. that is a dangerous belief to many who hold power and to construct their positions against another dry or religion or race or gender or political party. standing up against that false sense of identity and expanding the circle of rights and opportunities to all people, a financing their freedoms and possibilities is why we do what we do. this week, we observe human rights week. at the state department, every week is human rights week. 61 years ago, the world's leaders provided a new framework that rights laws and institutions that could fulfill a vow of never again. they affirm the universality of human rights through the declaration and also the rights.
also challenging discrimination against women and racial and religious minorities. burgeoning civil society movements and non-governmental organizations became essential partners in advancing the principle that every person counts and exposing those who violate that standard. as we celebrate that progress, our focus must be on the work that remains to be done, the preamble of the universal declaration of human rights encourages us to use it as a standard of achievement. so, we should. now we must finish the job. our human-rights agenda for the 21st century is to make human rights a human reality.
the for step is to see human rights in a broad context. of course, people must be free from the oppression of tyranny, torture, discrimination, from the fear of leaders who will in prison or make them disappear. they must also be free from the oppression of one to come a want of food, want of education, one of the quality. people must be able to speak, criticize and a bibe able to bud their minds and their skills. to bring their goods to the marketplace and participate in the process of innovation. human-rights have both negative and positive requirements. people should be free from
tyranny and any form and free to seize the opportunities of a full life. that is why supporting democracy and fostering development are cornerstones of the 21st century. this administration will promote, support, defend democracy. we will relinquish neither the word or the idea to those who have used it too narrowly. it is crucial that we clarify what we mean when we talk about
basic levels of well-being such as food shelter, health and education, and of public comment goods like environmental sustainability, protection against disease, provisions for refugees, are necessary for people to exercise their rights and because human development and democracy are mutually reinforcing. democratic governments are not likely to survive long if their citizens to not have the basic necessities of life. the desperation caused by poverty and disease often leads to violence which further imperil the rights of people and threatens the stability of governments. democracies that deliver on rights, opportunities, development for their people are stable, strong, and most likely to enable people to live up to their potential. human-rights, democracy, and development are not three
separate goals with three separate agendas. that does not reflect the reality that we face. to make a real and long-term difference in people's lives, we have to tackle all three simultaneously with a commitment that is smart, strategic, determined, and long term. we should measure our success by asking this question -- are more people in more places better able to exercise their universal rights and live up to their potential because of our actions to our principles are our north star but our tools and tactics must be flexible and reflect the reality on the ground wherever we are trying to have a positive impact. in some cases, governments are willing but unable without support to establish strong institutions and protections for
citizens. for example, the nascent democracies in africa. we can extend our hand as a partner to help them try to achieve authority and build the progress they desire. in other cases, like cuba or nigeria, governments are able but i'm willing to make the changes that their citizens deserve. -- but i'm willing unwilling to make the changes. in the cases where they are not willing or able, places like eastern congo, we have to support those courageous individuals that try to protect people.
these are complicated issues. i want to outline four elements of the obama's administration approach to put our principles into action and share with you some of the challenges that we face. first, a commitment to human rights starts with universal standards and holding everyone accountable to those standards including ourselves. the president obama issued an executive order prohibiting the use of torture or officials cruelty by any u.s. official and ordered the closure of guantanamo bay. next year, we will report on human trafficking as we do every year but this time not only on just the other countries but also on our own. we will participate through the u.n. in the you know -- through the periodic review of our own record just as we encourage other nations to do.
by holding ourselves accountable, we reinforce our moral authority to demand that all governments in here to obligations under international law such as not to torture, arbitrarily engaged in prejudice, or engage in political killing parent we must counter the actions of those. sometimes we publicly denounced an action. who sometimes we will engage in tough negotiations behind closed doors like crushing china and russia as part of our broader agenda. in every instance, our aim will be to make changes.
our goal is to encourage and demand that governments must take responsibility by putting human rights into law and embedding them in government institutions by building strong independent courts, confident disciplined police and law enforcement. governments should be expected to resist the temptation to restrict freedom of expression when criticism arises and to be vigilant in preventing long from the coming on instrument of oppression as bills under consideration like the one in you gotta which would criminalize homosexuality. -- like the one thing you've gonebeen -- in uganda would criticize
homosexuality. the in the lasfor making amendse interment of their own citizens in world war ii to establishing legal recourse for victims of discrimination in the south to passing hate crimes legislation to include a tax against gays and lesbians. when justice anywhere is ignored, justice everywhere is denied. acknowledging and recognizing mistakes, this is not make us weaker. this reaffirms our faith in our institutions. we must be pragmatic and agile in pursuit of our agenda. not compromising on our principles but doing what is most likely to make them real hidden. we will use all the tools at our disposal. when we run up against a wall,
we will not retreat with resignation or recriminations or repeatedly run up against the same wall but respond with strategic resolve to find another way to the effect change and improve people's lives. one size does not fit all. when old approaches are not working, we will not be afraid to attend new ones as we did this year when we ended the stalemate of isolation with burma. in the run, we have offered to negotiate directly on nuclear issues but at the same time we expressed solidarity for those struggling for economic change. they have less on their side. we will hold governments accountable for their actions as we had just recently by terminating millennium challenge grants this year for
madagascar and niger in the wake of government behavior. we must try to balance out isolation engagement, pressure and incentives so that human rights and dignity is advanced over time. we're also working for positive change within multilateral institutions. they are viable tools that leverage the efforts of many countries around a common purpose. we have rejoined the human- rights council but because we don't see its flaws but we think that participating gives us the best chance to be a constructive influence. we co-sponsored the successful resolution on freedom of expression, a forceful declaration of principle at a time when that is jeopardized by new efforts to constrain religious practice including in switzerland and efforts to
criminalize the religions. in the u.n. security council, ivars privileged to share a session whereñi we passed a resolution mandating protections against sexual violence and armed conflicts. principal pragmatism and war is our approach on human-rights with all countries but particularly with countries like china and russia. cooperation with each of those is critical to the health of the global economy and the nonproliferation agenda that we see. we also want to address global problems like climate change. the u.s. seeks positive relationships with china and russia and that means candid discussion of divergent views. in china, we called for protection of rights of minorities in tibet, for the rise to express one's self and
worship freely and for civil society and religious organizations to advocate their positions within a framework of the rule of law. we believe strongly that those who advocate peaceably for reform within the constitution. in russia, we deplore the murders of journalists. with china, russia, and others, we are engaging on issues of mutual interests. we are also engage feed societal actress in the same countries. -- we're also engaging social networks in the same countries. the assumption that only coercion and isolation are effective tools for advancing
diplomatic -- democratic change is also wrong. crossed our diplomacy and development efforts, we keep striving for innovative ways to achieve results. that is why i commissioned the development review to develop a forward-looking shredded g and analysis of our objectives, our tools, and capacities before the hour security objectives. the issues of democracy and government are central to this review. the third element of our approach is that we support change driven by citizens and their communities. the project of making human rights and human reality cannot just be one for governance but it requires operation amongst individuals and organizations within communities and across borders. it means that we work with others and share our commitment
to securing lives and dignity for all that share the bonds of community. i met with civil society activists from across the middle east and north africa in morocco. they talk about how lasting change comes from within and it depends on activists to create a space in which citizens and civil society can build the foundations for democracy. outside governments and civil society cannot impose change but we can promote and bolster it and defend it. we can encourage and provide support for local leaders and providing a lifeline to activist as they get in trouble as they often do for voicing dissent. this means using tools like our global human rights defenders fund which has provided targeted
legal and relocation assistance to 170 even rise defenders around the world. we can stand with these defenders publicly as we have by sending a high-level diplomatic mission to meet with the opposition leader in burma. i've traveled to many countries to speak out for civil society. they're working through the back channels for the safety of the dissidents. we can amplify the voices of activist and advocates working on these issues by shiny spotlight on their progress. they often pursue their mission in isolation, often so marginalized within their own societies. we can indorse legitimacy of their efforts. we recognize these with honors
let the woman of courage award that first lady michelle obama and i presented earlier this year. we can give them access to public form but then this is listed their ideas and continue to press for the role of non- governmental organizations like the one we can enlist other allies like international labor unions. religious organizations are champion the rights of people live with aids in africa. we can help change the agents gain access to and share information through the internet and mobile phones and that they can communicate and organize with phones. thousands of protesters have
broadcast their demands for rights denied creating a record for all of the world including the leaders of iran to see. i've established a special unit inside the state department to use technology for 21stxd centuy statecraft. in virtually every country that i visited i conducted town hall or a round table discussion groups outside of government to learn from them and to provide a platform for their forces, ideas, and opinions. in russia, i visited the independent british station to give the interview and expressed -- independent radio station to give an interview. in china, i met with women activists. the women's conference in 1995 inspired a generation of women civil society leaders of the come rights defenders for today's china.
in 1998, i met with a small group of lawyers in a crowded apartment on the fifth floor of a wad of building. they describe for me their efforts to win rights for women to own property, have a say in marriage and divorce, and be treated as equal citizens. when i visited china again this year, i met with some of the same women but they had grown and expanded their scope. another woman working for and our mental health and economic rights in addition to people rights. one of them has been harassed for speaking out about aids in china. she should be applauded by her government for helping to confront the crisis. non-government organizations need the support we provide. many repressive regimes have tried to limit the independents and effectiveness of activists by restricting their activities including more than 25 governments that have recently
adopted new restrictions. our funding and support can give a foothold to local organizations, training organizations and independent media. one of the most important ways that we can lay the foundations for saying, what is through target assistance to those in need and through partnerships that foster products based economic development. the bill's success for the long run, our development assistance needs to be as effective as possible in delivering results in paving the way for a broadbased growth and self- reliance. beyond giving people the capacity to meet their material needs, economic empowerment should give them a stake in their own futures. their societies will become the kind societies that protect rights and govern fairly. we will pursue a rights respecting approach to development.
the fourth element of our approach is that we were wide and our focus. we will not forget that cause a change must be reinforced in areas where hope is on the rise and we will not ignore or overlook places of seemingly intractable tragedy and despair. we must do what we can to tilt the balance toward a better future. our efforts to support those working for human rights, economic empowerment, and governments are drawn by commitment and not convenience but they have to be sustained. they cannot be subject to political change in our own country. democratic progress is urgent but not quick and was never take
for granted its permanence. backsliding is prevalent like we learned in kenya. in the americas, where we are worried about leaders to of seized properties, trouble rights, and abuse justice to enhance rule. we cannot become complacent. we have to continue reenforcing the nongovernment the organizations and the fledging democracies. we must pay interest to nurture democratic development in places like the ukraine and georgia which experienced democratic brokers earlier this decade and struggled to consolidate because of internal exile factors. we stand ready both in our bilateral relationships and
international institutions to help governments that have committed to improving themselves by insistinassisting. we will support regional organizations and institutions like the organization of american states, the african union, and the association of southeast asian nations. success stories deserve our attention. they continue to make progress and serve as a model for others. even as we enforce the successes, conscience demands that we are not cowed by the overwhelming difficulty of making inroads against misery in the hard places like the sudan, condo, north korea, zimbabwe. also ending gender inequality and discrimination against gays and lesbians from the middle çwátáuafrica, asia.
we must press for solutions in sudan. ongoing tensions threaten to add to the devastation wrought by genocide in darfur. we will work to identify ways that we and our partners can enhance human security while at the same time focusing greater efforts on preventing genocide elsewhere. women's rights, women's roles and women's responsibilities we must also focus on. as i said in beijing, human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights. i wish it could be so easily translated into action and changes. that i deal is far from realized in many places around the world. there is no place that so epitomizes the very difficult tragic circumstances confronting women than in eastern congo. i was in goma, the epicenter of
on the most violent and canada regions on earth. when i was there, i met with victims of horrific a gender and sexual violence. i met with refugees driven from their homes. i heard from those working to end the conflict and to protect the victims in such dire circumstances. i saw the best and worst of community in a single day. the unspeakable acts of violence that have left women physically and emotionally paralyzed and the heroism of the men and women themselves, the doctors, nurses working to repair bodice and spirits. there on the front line of the struggle. çóon a -- repair bodies and spirits. there is the internal fortitude that keeps them going which is humbling and it inspires me
every day to keep working. those four aspects of our approach -- accountability, pragmatism, partner in from the bottom up, keeping a wide focus where rights are in stake, will help to build a foundation that enables people to stand and rise above poverty, hunger, and disease. it secures their rights under a democratic governance. we must lift the ceiling of repression, corruption, and violence. we must light a fire of human potential through access to education and economic opportunity. we must build the foundation, lift the ceiling, and light a fire altogether, all at once. when a person has food and education but and not the freedom to discuss with fellow citizens, they are denied a life they deserve.
but freedom does not come in half measures and partial mentors cannot address the problem. the champions of human potential have never call it -- had it easy. we musmake all rights inalienabe but makingñi them real is hard. this requires tough choices. even if everyone agrees that we should do what ever is most likely to improve the lives of people on the ground, we will not always agree on what course of action fits that description in every case. that is the nature of governing. we all know examples of good intentions that did not produce results. some that even produced unintended consequences that led to greater violations of human rights. ñiwe can learn from the instancs in which we have fallen short in the past. those difficulties are proof of
how difficult progress is. we cannot accept the argument by some that progress in certain places is impossible. mongolia's constitutionally reforms issued in -- ushered in a democracy without violence. there's no better example than the progress made in central and eastern europe since the fall of the berlin wall 20 years ago. the work in front of us is daunting. we face the future together with partners on every continent, partners and faith-based
organizations, socially responsible corporations, and partners in governments. in india, the world's largest amok receivdemocracy. in botswana, they have promised to govern according to democracy, dignity, development, discipline, delivery which contrasts starkly with the tragedy in zimbabwe. this is not just about what we do in the end, it is about who we are. we cannot be the people we are, people who believe in human rights, if we opt out of this fight. believing in human rights means we commit ourselves to action.
when we signed up for the rights that apply to everyone, of rights will be able to protect and unable human dignity. we also -- and enable human dignity. those of you here at this university spent time studying the cases of what we have tried to do with human rights. you see the shortcomings and the shortfalls. you see the fact that as mario cuomo said about politics here in the u.s., we campaign in poetry, we govern in prose. that is true internationally as well. we need your ideas, we need your criticism. we need your support, we need your intelligent analysis of how to gather we can slowly and steadily expand the circle of